With increasing global recognition of mental health issues, heightened awareness and support we are seeing a long-overdue attitude change. At HR Solver we fully support improving mental health awareness, and in particular, improving attitudes in the workplace.
The Mental Health Foundation reports;
- 7% of people experience mental health problems in the workplace
- Women in full-time employment are nearly twice as likely to have a common mental health problem as full-time employed men
- Evidence suggest that 12.7% of all sickness absence days in the UK can be attributed to mental health conditions
Often employees report that they don’t feel mental health issues get enough support at work.
Increasingly, employers are trying to take preventative steps and promote employee mental well-being, including encouraging a culture of openness and providing training to managers to help support and signpost employees.
However if you don’t feel your workplace is as proactive as it could be or you are struggling with mental health yourself, you could suggest that your employer considers the following;
- Pin some of the common misconceptions associated with mental health on one side of a board and the side effects of these perceptions on the other, or indeed pin some well-known activities for maintaining better mental health. For example, regular exercise, talking through issues, reducing alcohol intake…encourage your colleagues to add their own ideas too.
- Celebrate or ask for permission to promote World Mental Health Day in your workplace on 10 October. A very simple step, which might be easier if you are in a remote workforce, could involve changing your email signatures for the day to show your support of World Mental Health day.
Longer term, if you wish to continue improving your employer’s focus on mental health you could suggest;
- A buddying system where colleagues are trained to specifically support in mental health conversations across the workplace.
- Access to occupational health services to assist in dealing with issues as they arise. Occupational therapists will evaluate the suitability of work in light of any mental or physical conditions, recommend changes that could be made to the work environment and daily tasks and should also help set expectations for short, medium and long term recovery.
- Access to counselling services
- Access to an Employee Assistance Programme. Often included in benefits such as cash health plans employees will have access to telephone support lines to privately discuss concerns on a variety of subjects including; financial matters, personal home issues, work problems and the stresses and strains of daily life.
- The creation of a stress management plan can be helpful too where issues have already been identified. This is where an employee and manager meet to identity potential risks and stressors in the work environment, workload and how these might be alleviated.
- Resilience or mindfulness training
We know it is not easy to talk about mental health in the workplace, fortunately, managers and bosses are increasingly recognising that they need to openly discuss and consider mental health issues. However if you are struggling and need support to address issues in the workplace our empathetic HR and employment law experts are here to help. Download the HR Solver app today and chat with a specialist adviser in minutes.
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